Practice heats up

By Staff
Tigers brave triple-digit temperatures as football practice gets under way this week
Justin Schuver, Hartselle Enquirer
The high school football season officially got under way Monday as teams were allowed to practice for the first time. Hartselle, like other high schools across the state, competed in a full practice in shorts and helmets.
"We'll be in shorts and helmets for three days," Hartselle coach Bob Godsey said. "The state mandates that you do three days in shorts and helmets before going to the pads. Thursday will probably be rough for these kids, because it'll be the first day of school and the first day of pads, but we'll be okay."
The Tigers held a double practice Monday, working from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. and taking a break before going back to work from 6:30 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. Although the bulk of the practice took place after temperatures cooled down, the Tigers still had to deal with the extremely hot weather early as the heat index reached as high as 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Godsey and the rest of the Hartselle coaching staff made sure their players stayed hydrated, mandating water breaks every 10 minutes or so and also allowing players to drink water from bottles at any time as long as it did not interfere with drills.
"We want them to be able to have water anytime they need it," Godsey said. "We also encourage them to drink lots of Gatorade and water before practice and then again after practice. It's extremely important in this heat."
Hartselle's practice was an orchestrated collection of drills and instruction, with players separated into groups based on position. Position coaches led each drill and the players rotated at periodic levels, with a loud siren signaling the time for a change.
Each coach had a detailed itinerary for the practice's drills and schedule, and it was not uncommon to hear coaches yell "Run!" or "Hurry up!" if the players were dallying between drills.
"Overall I think we were pleased with the first day," Godsey said. "It takes at least a week usually to get into a routine and get to where you want to be, but for a first day we did well. I felt like we handled the heat really well."
Some of the drills included Godsey instructing the quarterbacks and running backs on the team's basic laterals and hand-off plays; defensive coordinator Larry Peck teaching some defensive players about proper technique in a zone defense and of course lots of running.
Every so often, Godsey or another coach would yell for a kicker to practice a kick – keeping the kickers constantly on their toes and simulating the pressure of a game-time kick that could come at any time.
Godsey said that the team would practice just once on Tuesday and Wednesday before going back to the twice-a-day routine beginning Thursday. He said the team would continue to participate in the lengthier practices until "we get to where we need to be."
Hartselle's first regular season game is August 30 at J.P. Cain Stadium against Austin.

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